Clytemnestra trying to awake the Erinyes while her son is being purified by Apollo, Apulian red-figure krater, 480–470 BC, Louvre (Cp 710)

Clytemnestra (ə/;[1] Greek: Κλυταιμνήστρα, Klytaimnḗstra, [klytai̯mnɛ̌ːstra]), in Greek mythology, was the wife of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, and the sister of Helen of Troy. In Aeschylus' Oresteia, she murders Agamemnon – said by Euripides to be her second husband – and the Trojan princess Cassandra, whom Agamemnon had taken as a war prize following the sack of Troy; however, in Homer's Odyssey, her role in Agamemnon's death is unclear and her character is significantly more subdued.


Her Greek name Klytaimnḗstra is also sometimes Latinized as Clytaemnestra.[2] It is commonly glossed as "famed for her suitors". However, this form is a later misreading motivated by an erroneous etymological connection to the verb mnáomai (μνάoμαι, "woo, court"). The original name form is believed to have been Klytaimḗstra (Κλυταιμήστρα) without the -n-. The present form of the name does not appear before the middle Byzantine period.[3] Aeschylus, in certain wordplays on her name, appears to assume an etymological link with the verb mḗdomai (μήδoμαι, "scheme, contrive"). Thus given the derivation from κλῠτός (klutós "celebrated") and μήδομαι (mḗdomai "to plan, be cunning"), this would result in the quite descriptive "famous plotter".[4]